Drive

SKU: 0665-2
Label:
Inside Out Music
Category:
Art Rock
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"Alternative Rock is not a genre that graces my ears very often, but as always, they are open; as is my mind. The funny thing is, any time I am exposed to something I wouldn't normally find myself listening to, there is always something about that band that has my wanting attention for one reason or another, be it the sound of the vocalist, the mixing, or those infectious hooks in the chorus. For its genre, the ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN (formerly AGUA DE ANNIQUE) is perfectly postulated and is a leading act, with their non-repetitive writing (something I hear too often in commercial rock), excellent vocals and songs leaving you burning with an urge to sing along.

Their latest release, "Drive", is no exception; as an album, it proves to be versatile, with no two songs sounding identical, but every song keeping the rhythm and mood to make the album fit piece by piece. "We Live On" feels like a typical pop-rock track, upbeat and driving, with an extremely powerful vocal performance in the choruses by Van Giersbergen. "Treat Me Like A Lady" does not want to be treated like a lady, and takes a noticeably heavier tone, brimming with attitude. "She" begins ever so modestly, making us think we're brought back to some level of calm, but explodes into an incredibly fast-paced chorus for such a Rock band, and includes yet another infectious chorus; something that is fast becoming an obvious highlight. "Drive" – I adore the sound of the bass in this song, the way it is dislocated from the drums, adds another dynamic. Van Giersbergen's even more stellar performance in the chorus demonstrates her large vocal range and versatility. Save for electric bass, "My Mother Said" is an entirely acoustic song and is the softest, most heartfelt song on the album; the band's namesake flawlessly demonstrates her ability to fit her voice around any song to emote any mood wants. "Forgive Me" is especially different, demonstrating unusual chord progressions, totally different instrumentation, and revealing even more, the extent of control that Van Giersbergen has over her range. "You Will Never Change" is upbeat and punchy, through-and-through with an – okay, let us just assume that every song on this album has an infectious chorus; definitely one of my favorites on the album. "Mental Jungle" begins with a strange, Arabic-sounding vocal melody, also featured on the chorus; I do indeed also love this chorus, as well as the interesting chord progressions. Quite easily the most unique song on the album, it strays from the pipeline rock sound that this record has been purveying. "Shooting for the Stars" takes the cake for the 'radiorock' track on the album, where every note, every beat, every lyric, screams commercialism and airtime. Not necessarily a bad song, but not the most interesting on the album. The album closes with "The Best Is Yet To Come" which makes me thing, Anneke has even better music to offer us in the future? The song itself takes first place on the album for me; the presence of the overdriven guitars and bass compliment her voice perfectly to create a powerful and catchy, yet Heavy Rock track, with interesting and unpredictable licks and hooks.

Van Giersbergen and her band are quickly cementing themselves as one of Europe's currently most powerful and gorgeous-sounding rock groups, whom don't necessarily always cling to the commercialized, radio cliché sound, although no doubt perfectly suited to long air time. Coming from a metal head who listens to a fair share of female singers, I believe she could sing anything she wanted to, and the band of musicians that have got together and recorded this organic album with her have done so masterfully, and I'm not sure if the best is yet to come." - Metal Temple

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The inhabitants of the idyllic island practice such spiritual, philosophical models, culminating in the consumption of so-called “Moksha-medicine,” a hallucinogen which permits heightened awareness and understanding. The band which explores similarly Zen and reflective topics is one to catch my eye and I excitedly embarked on this quest for internal liberation.Moksha is the fifth full-length by Germany’s My Sleeping Karma, succeeding their previous release Soma (also a reference to Eastern spirituality and prominently interpreted in Huxley’s Brave New World). It accordingly incorporates Eastern instrumentation in a groovy, psychedelic exploration of exactly how mellow one can be while the music can still be interpreted as metal. 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  • "‘Map of the Past‘, the fifth studio album from Cumbrian prog rockers It Bites, will most likely inhabit a strange, disturbing place in your heart. It’s a release that is obscurely beautiful and tender, but also one that can occasionally sound incongruous and lost in time. Very often, when it comes to progressive music, people will often justify anything odd by defending it with its genre. In the case of It Bites, there is a temptation to lean on a sound from their 80s heyday, which occasionally makes ‘Map of the Past’ seem staid and not just a little cheesy.In places this album is a wonderful, soaring retrospect vision of a forgotten generation, built around the ‘discovery of an old family photograph’. Although not a concept album per se, ‘Map of the Past’ explores the idea of lives captured within photographs, and reflects these contemplative visions with equally thoughtful music; album opener, ‘Man In the Photograph’ opens with the fuzz of radio static and soon leads into sound of organs and John Mitchell’s recollections borne from this one picture. The song blends into the more progressive sounding fare of ‘Wallflower‘ and its indulgent synth solo. The title track is more engaging, with soaring chorus vocals and disorientating time signatures, showcasing the tight musicianship and richly mature songwriting ability that has grown from their 30 years of existence.The strength of this album falters with ‘Flag’ and its irrepressibly outdated smattering of 80s memorabilia and Sting powered vocal lines, although the lyrics are undoubtedly more engaging than any Police offshoot. The album does have a tendency to wander into these unpalatable territories, but more than often than not redeems itself; as the grandiose, irresistible flounce of ‘Send No Flowers‘ resurrects its orchestral bombast and moves into ‘Meadow and the Stream’s artistically detailed backdrop, it’s clear that this album is more rollercoaster than record. The album finishes, as it started, relying on simply constructed songs and that radio static to bookmark the end; ‘The Last Escape’ is honestly beautiful, and seems even more so in contrast to the tumult of the remainder of the record.‘Map of the Past’ shifts between temporal paradigms rather than changing between tracks; it’s a scintillating album that is honest to itself, and stays true to It Bites’ form, even if it does rely on sounds from their back backcatalogue occasionally. Despite this, the depth of the album is phenomenal and is genuinely rich in its storyline, with music that peaks and troughs fittingly. Well worth a listen if you find yourself pointed at the progosphere." - Bring The Noise
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  • So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended."Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report 
    $12.00
  • "Tracer release their new album ‘Spaces In Between’ on October 3rd (UK release) on the Cool Green recordings label.  The Australian desert rockers, who are based in Adelaide, comprise of brothers Michael and Leigh Brown and Andre Wise. They have had success with two previous independent releases, but ‘Spaces In Between’ will I feel launch Tracer to new heights.Tracer’s blend of 90’s stoner and 70’s classic rock is steeped in epic guitar sounds, clever hooks and raw, uncompromising vocals.I hope (and imagine) that Tracer can reproduce live on stage the intensity and passion and raw rock n roll that is so evident in this album. With the UK tour coming up I think we should all go and check out these Aussie contenders!“So what’s the album really like?” I hear you say.   The album starts with ‘Too Much’ and a great start it is. A guitar riff straight from the 70’s classic-rock bible. A solid, constant rhythm throughout. A very catchy rock song, which is understandably the first single from the album.Check out the video belowTrack two; ‘Push’ has a more laid back feel. It still rocks, but in a groovier kinda way. If Jimi Hendrix and Paul Rodgers had a lovechild, it would sing like this!‘Walk Alone’ continues the 70’s rock vibe. A solid drum beat throughout which has a simple yet traditional guitar riff over the topThe fourth track, ‘Louder Than This’ is stoner rock at its finest. Distorted vocals over a solid pounding drum beat, with guitars turned to eleven. There is almost a Slade vibe to this song. I can imagine Noddy Holder belting this out in the 70’s.The next track ‘Devil Ride’ goes back to the rockier tempo of track one. Definitely the catchiest chorus on the album so far.  I have a feeling that ‘Devil Ride’ might just be the next single.Track six is another thumping tune. ‘ The Bitch’ is the song which will get the crowd going wild in the mosh-pit, although they will still sing along to the chorus, with devil-horns flying high.The seventh track, ‘Voice In The Rain’ has a much slower pace than most on the album. The Paul Rodgers comparison to Michael Browns vocal is most evident here. A great performance.The album’s title track ‘Spaces In Between’ is the stand out track. The bass line complements the raw guitar sound and you find yourself singing along to ‘The Spaces In Between’ line of the chorusTrack nine is ‘Dead Inside’. This starts slow and Bluesy, rocks in with screaming vocals and guitar solos, slows back down again then totally rocks out towards the end. A clever song, which highlights the bands musical talents.‘Save My Breath’ is another pulsating rocker with some nice stop/start moments and even a little psychedelic middle eight!‘All In My Head’, the eleventh track, is a mellow rocker with another catchy chorus.The album closes with ‘Won’t Let It Die (Run Mary)’. A shot of Bad Company, a dash of Led Zeppelin and topped up to the brim with Jimi Hendrix.  Get the idea? A laid back song but with great guitar work, especially the solo. This will have you singing along by the end." - I Review Rock
    $12.00